|My problem with Apple|
|Written by L. M. Lloyd|
|Tuesday, 18 March 2008 12:46|
Page 1 of 5
Ok, it is inevitable that any time I open my mouth, something negative about Apple is going to come out sooner or later. Let me save you the trouble of asking what my problem with Apple is, and just spell it out. No, they didn't run over my dog when I was a child. In fact, when I was a child, I quite loved my Apple ][. No, I am not jealous because I can't afford to buy Apple equipment. Just about every computer I have ever had has been far more expensive than anything Apple offers, and nothing Apple has ever made has ever been as envy-inducing as my old $25,000 SGI workstation. It isn't even because I have some issue with the preening, pompous, Starbuck-drinking crowd that so love Apple. I am, myself, a pretty arrogant and pompous artistic type, and for the most part would fit right in with your average gathering of Macheads, except for the fact I hate coffee. In fact, a good portion of the jobs I have had, have been at Mac-only shops, and I have spent quite a bit of time working with Macs. It isn't even that Apple is another useless lifestyle brand in a world full of pathetic people who feel they have so little personality that they have to go buy one. The reason Apple rubs me the wrong way isn't any of that, it is because I happen to value honesty.
You see, my problem with Apple is the same one that I have with politicians and religions. That is to say they prey on people's ignorance with poorly qualified and purposefully misleading statements, knowing full well that most people are more ignorant than them of the subject matter, and so will never call them on their bullshit. Some people would call this "spin" some people would call this "propaganda," but I call it the worst kind of lie. Sure, you will say, but everyone does it, so what's the problem, and why do you single out Apple? Because Apple is a particularly egregious example of this particular kind of deception. Apple's entire reputation, and even their stock value, is based entirely on this concept that they are "the most innovative technology company in the world," yet they do less R&D than any of their competitors. They hold fewer patents than Microsoft, IBM, or for that matter most of the big companies in the Tech Sector. Most of their products from the past 20 years (at least) have been repackaged off-the-shelf technology, that they have just put in a pretty package, and even their most successful product ever, an MP3 player, was designed by another company, and they just made the packaging for it. When it comes down to it, Apple is about as innovative as Dell, which is to say not very.
So why is it that Apple always ends up at the top of just about any analyst's list of the most innovative companies? Simple, because Apple is in no way adverse to just plain lying. Time and time again Apple has held big press conferences declaring themselves the first to do something, years after it had already been done by someone else. It isn't just a pattern, it is standard operating procedure for them. No matter what they are doing, or how unimportant it is, they herald it as a huge innovation for the industry, and people, most of whom don't know any better, are perfectly willing claim Apple did it first from that point on, because they are the ones claiming they did it first. Now, I already can hear you saying "Apple can't be held responsible for what people say about them." Sorry, you are trying that with the wrong guy. I have had too many coworkers, friends, and even teachers who were actually paid by Apple to be "Product Evangelists." I am not going to buy that argument for a second. Apple not only actively works to shape opinion of people about their company, but pays those people out there saying what they like in goods, services, and favors. Apple is not the most aggressive company on Earth about "viral" marketing of this sort, but they are easily in the top 10.
So, let's look at some of Apple's 'innovation.'
Apple made the first real personal computer.
Nope, sorry, just didn't happen. Actually, I start with this one, because this is where the pattern begins, and informs how every Apple argument follows. In reality, the best you can say is that Apple was one of the first companies to start selling a personal computer, and this is where the whole crazy Applespeak begins. Because now you will have whole host of people, most of whom have no firsthand knowledge, because they either hadn't been born yet, or thought at the time that computers seemed like nothing but a hobby for the most hopeless of nerds, and these people will start prevaricating, qualifying, and trying to say that it might not have been the absolute first, but it was the first to matter. This is a theme that will continually run through any discussion of the Appleverse. This idea that Apple might not have technically been the first, but that for some reason they were the first that we should bother paying attention to, is in my opinion one of the worst kinds of intellectual dishonesty. Not to wax too pedantic, but I would like to point out at this juncture that "first" is a rather straightforward word. There really is no nuance to it. You either are the first, or you aren't. There really isn't much room for argument on the issue. If you say something was first, and it is predated by another, then you are just wrong. I will move on to this idea that they somehow made the most important, if not first, personal computer.
There is no doubt the Apple, and more importantly the Apple ][ were impressive machines. There is no attempt here to minimize that. However, they were, even to Apple, evolutionary dead ends. No matter which one of the common arguments you try to take up to defend Apple here, it is a losing one. If you want to try and take the stance that"Apple was the company that made the computer a commercial success, and drove it to the mainstream" then you are wrong, because that honor undeniably goes to Commodore. Commodore computers far outsold Apple computers, and anyone alive back then knows that the C64 was almost ubiquitously the first computer anyone but the hardcore phreak or hacker would buy. If you want to try to take the argument that "Apple had the most historic significance, because their computers set the tone for the rest of the industry," then you would once again be wrong, because that honor would go to the TRS-80, which pretty much created the blueprint for the modern PC model of a computer. No, in fact Apple was just another company, like Atari or TI, selling a home computer. Sure, any company selling a home computer back then was innovative, since home computers were brand-new, but Apple deserves no special distinction.
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 20 March 2008 05:03 )|
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